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Jonathan Blalock Features 

“What I love most about opera is its transcendent power,” says American Tenor Jonathan Blalock

American tenor Jonathan Blalock is one of those opera singers who is not only a pleasure to listen to, but also a delight to talk to. The North Carolina native, who will soon be playing Beppe in Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, was gracious enough to sit down with Opera Sense and answer a few of our questions about himself and his passion for opera. What is your earliest opera memory? When I was a sophomore in college I attended a production of La traviata in Chattanooga. It was a student dress rehearsal,…

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Le Nozze di Figaro Le Nozze di Figaro Mozart 

Five Facts to know about Mozart and Da Ponte’s The Marriage of Figaro

Here are five facts to know about The Marriage of Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro), one of the greatest operas ever written. 230 years after its premiere, we are still talking about it, performing it, and relishing in its glorious sounds and characters. Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) is based on a French play by the name of La Folle Journée, ou Le Mariage de Figaro (The Mad Day, or the Marriage of Figaro), written by Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais in 1778. It is the second play in the…

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Edita Gruberová Divi of the Day 

Edita Gruberová

Edita Gruberová is one of the singers I wish I had discovered earlier in my life; every time I hear her, I’m amazed by her intonation, ornamentation, and clarity in both tone and diction. Born in 1946, the Slovak soprano studied music at the Bratislava Conservatory and the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava, which opened in 1949. Gruberová is a coloratura soprano. She is a renowned interpreter of many leading ladies in the bel canto genre, as well as the Queen of the Night (Mozart, Die Zauberflöte or The…

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, The Marriage of Figaro composer Le Nozze di Figaro 

Overview – Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro)

For me, opera begins with Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) – the first of three Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Lorenzo Da Ponte collaborations (the other two were Don Giovanni and Così fan tutte). Of course there were many operatic masterpieces before this 1786 work, even a couple by Mozart himself (Idomeneo and Die Entführung aus dem Serail, for instance), but there’s something special about Le Nozze, a work that has never been out of the standard repertory. Premiering three years before the French Revolution, Le Nozze…

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Mario Antonio Marra Donizetti Features Lyric Opera of Chicago 

“The drama is very direct and true,” Mario Antonio Marra on Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Lucia di Lammermoor

With Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor opening this weekend, we wanted to interview someone who is both intimately involved in the production and has a profound and personal connection with this bel canto masterpiece. Mario Antonio Marra, the pianist for the production, was gracious enough to answer a few of our questions. +240

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Maria Callas Divi of the Day 

Maria Callas

The quintessential diva, Maria Callas was renowned not just for her beautiful singing, but also for her superb acting. The short-lived Greek-American star was born in New York City in 1923. She studied music in Greece and first emerged on the operatic stage in Italy. Callas is widely regarded as one of the great interpreters of the 19th-century bel canto technique, singing virtually all the major Donizetti, Bellini, and Rossini soprano roles. A recording of her singing the title role of Puccini’s Tosca in 1952 is still considered the gold…

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Recitative Mozart New to opera Recitative Rossini Verdi 

What is recitative?

You may have heard the term recitative when you hear people talk about opera, but what exactly is recitative? This is my definition of recitative – any semi-spoken, semi-sung non-repetitive part of an opera that advances the action. Typically, the earlier the opera is, the easier it is to distinguish between recitative and other operatic sections, such as arias or ensemble pieces. Don’t just take my word for it; listen to the great Leonard Bernstein talk about recitative… 00

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